Eilish McConville earns national award nomination

Soccer star among top four CIS athletes

Eilish McConville led CIS scorers with 22 regular-season goals in 2006-2007.
Eilish McConville led CIS scorers with 22 regular-season goals in 2006-2007.
Journal File Photo

Eilish McConville capped off her final year at Queen’s in style, earning the OUA’s female nomination for the prestigious national BLG award.

The BLG awards are sponsored by the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and include a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship for the winners. They’re given out annually to the top male and female university athletes in Canada.

Each regional association, such as the OUA, submits one male and one female nominee for the awards. This year, both awards were won by the nominees from Canada West, with University of Calgary track and field star Jessica Zelinka taking the women’s trophy and Trinity Western volleyball player Josh Howatson winning the men’s award.

This nomination was only the most recent honour for McConville, who led the Gaels’ soccer team to the CIS silver medal this year and was rewarded with the School of Physical and Health Education ’55 Alumnae Trophy, given annually to Queen’s top female athlete. She also scored 22 regular season goals to set an OUA record, and was named female soccer player of the year by both the OUA and the CIS.

“I was sort of shocked and excited at the same time [to hear about the BLG Award nomination],” McConville said. “Obviously, it was very exciting to be nominated.” Dave McDowell, the head coach of the women’s soccer team, said he was delighted to find out about McConville’s nomination.

“[It’s a] tremendous honour to be chosen from thousands of CIS athletes from Ontario schools,” he said. “I don’t know what more she could have done as an athlete for our school. It was quite a resume she put together this year, and in her last four years, so [we’re] obviously very proud of her.” Despite all of her individual success, McConville’s highlight of the year was her team’s triumph.

“I think for me, winning the silver medal with the team definitely was the most important. I’ve played four years at Queen’s, and the goal was always to win the national championship. This year, we came the closest that we’ve ever come, so that was definitely my favorite moment of the year.”

McConville also spoke fondly of her overall experience here and said she couldn’t be happier with her time spent at Queen’s.

“The experience at Queen’s University is just phenomenal. I mean, the campus and the atmosphere at Queen’s and the education that I have received has been excellent. All the girls were amazing, and I made lots of friends that will last for a lifetime, hopefully.” She hopes to continue her success when she represents Canada in the 2007 Summer Universiade, the world university athletics championships, which is scheduled to take place in Thailand from Aug. 8-18.

McConville plans to play for the Ottawa Royals club team this fall. McDowell said it won’t be easy to replace McConville next year.

“How do you replace her? You don’t. We’re certainly not going to replace that type of performance and her goal-scoring obviously will be very difficult to replace,” he said.

“We’re not going to replace her, that’s the simple answer, [but] we’ll see what happens: Hopefully we’ve got some kids coming in who can help us out.”

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